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Tuesday, July 7, 2015

THE (TUESDAY) MORNING GOALIE


7 ODDS 'N ENDS

1 - THE LAST WORD:  Did I mention I dislike Sunday Roughrider games?  They can make it difficult to get the MMG out on time with all the other coverage we do for each and every Rider contest (TV, radio, print and online).  So now with just over 24 hours to digest Sunday's 42-40 overtime loss to the Toronto Argonauts at Mosaic Stadium, here are a few final thoughts before we turn our attention to Friday's date with the B.C. Lions in Vancouver.

"We should be talking about a win right now," Riders head coach Corey Chamblin huffed in his postgame interview on CKRM on Sunday.  "Everybody sees that.  P.I., interception, the drop.  We're real close to protecting all those things. I told the guys I'm proud of them.  We're real close."

On all those things, Chamblin's right.  But it wasn't a win, and the Saskatchewan Roughriders are 0-2 for the first time in the Chamblin era.  In fact the club has never lost a season-opener since Chamblin took over the Saskatchewan Roughriders prior to the 2012 campaign.  So we're in uncharted territory.

Having watched the final quarter of Sunday's game over again, it's easy to see how the Riders saw their 10-point lead dwindle into a loss.  Major fouls on the offensive line on the Riders' second-last drive, ineffective clock management on their final series which ended with the Brett Smith one yard touchdown plunge, and the fact they applied no pressure on Toronto QB Trevor Harris, allowing him to move the ball 85 yards with a minute to go to tie the game, all added up to the roof caving in.

So the Riders are 0-2 and have lost those games by a combined six points.  Chamblin's correct that a few plays here and there in both games swung the outcome in the opposition's favour.  The good news is that there appears to be more than enough adequate talent on this team - despite its rash of injuries - and there's plenty of weeks left to right the ship.

They just need to be used effectively and to be put in position to have success.

2 - K.G. SHINES:  The statistic sticks out as clear as the nose on your face:  the Roughriders are a combined 2-9 without Darian Durant.  If nothing else, Darian's value to this team has been underscored in spades and it extends well beyond what he provides in the huddle.  The Rider braintrust noticed this before anyone else and made him one of the highest-paid arms in the league in the spring of 2014.

That said, back-up Kevin Glenn has been out-of-this-world in relief.  The 36-year old pivot enters Week 3 just 38 yards off the league lead in passing yards.  Was his pick six at 5:34 of the fourth quarter on Sunday a killer?  Absolutely.  But it wasn't the reason for the loss.  It didn't tie the game, but rather brought the Argos to within three points.  There was plenty of time left to win the game.

Individually, Kevin has surpassed Matt Dunigan to become the CFL's 7th all-time leading passer and now he's 6,602 yards behind the greatest Roughrider Of 'Em All, Ron Lancaster, for #6.  But there's one thing Kevin Glenn doesn't possess that the other nine in the Top 10 do: a Grey Cup ring.  We'll examine his quest for a CFL championship in the weeks ahead, in other online columns.

3 - ENOUGH ALREADY!:  I was one of the most vocal opponents of the CFL's nine rule changes when they were announced this spring - particularly the new Pass Interference restriction and its five yard bumper.  However the rules are here to stay so enough with the belly-aching of how they've changed the game and made it virtually impossible to play man-to-man defense (Corey Chamblin's coverage of choice).

I read articles from all across the CFL covering every team and don't hear as much griping from other teams, their media or fans, about the new rules.  Are those teams adapting quicker?  To coin the over-used football term, "it is what it is".  The Riders need to figure this out, and pronto.

And Andre Proulx's crew does not have it in for the Roughriders.  There was a time a few years ago when a case could be made that Glen Johnson had some sort of gripe with the Green & White, but that's water under the Wascana Bridge.

Officiating did not cost the Roughriders the game on Sunday.

4 - THE PLAN:  With the addition of Paul McCallum, the Saskatchewan Roughriders are now the CFL's oldest team.  Montreal is #2.  So obviously, at some point in time, you would think there has to be a plan to overhaul this roster in an off-season soon.  I asked Roughrider GM Brendan Taman if McCallum fits into those long-term plans.

"My long term plan is to win right now," Taman stated.  "Everybody keeps talking about the new stadium in two, three years from now and I've gotta keep that in the back of my mind.  There's no doubt about that.  But if we can't go make a field goal next week you ain't going to be talking to me to get to the new stadium.  Somebody else will be be here so my goal is to win right now.

"If Paul goes and kicks 90% for the next two years, there's probably a good chance he will be kicking in the new stadium.  There's no doubt about it.  But this is a 'win now' business and if me and Corey are planning two years out from now, we're gonna be in trouble."

5 - THE LATEST ON DURANT:  While I had Taman's ear, I asked him for an update on the injured Rider quarterback and the surgery to repair his torn left achilles tendon.

"The latest I can tell you is that he had his operation Friday at noon," Taman reported.  "Jeremy O'Day traded texts with him Friday night and I think he got out of the hospital around 6:00 or 7:00.  He's pretty sore from what I can gather so he'll be laid up for a few days but I think you'll probably see some comments from him early this week."

6 - WEEK 2 CFL NOTES:  Hail the RedBlacks.  Ottawa's CFL entry is one of two unbeaten teams in the CFL at 2-0.  Who would have thought the balance of power is in the East?  But remember, it's only July.  But the RedBlacks overcame a rough start against B.C. on Saturday to post a 27-16 win and looked like a real football team.  At one time I thought 'Are they this good or is B.C. this bad?' but they were able to choke the Lions off in the fourth quarter to win their home-opener.  The game plan of rookie offensive coordinator Jason Maas was superb.  And former Roughrider Zack Evans ended the threat by stuffing the Lions on a 3rd down gamble in the final minute.  Ottawa is in position to go to 3-0 when they face the Mike Reilly-less Edmonton Eskimos Thursday night at Commonwealth ...

- Rookie quarterback Rakeem Cato will get the nod for the 1-1 Montreal Alouettes when they visit the 1-1 Winnipeg Blue Bombers Friday night.  Much has been made about the Riders dropping Cato from their negotiation list in May and the Alouettes quickly snapping him up, and I'll explain that situation in my Wednesday column on the Riders' official website.  However the Cato furor quickly went away once the Riders lost to Toronto ...

- The Riders can find quarterbacks.  See Drew Willy, an original find of Riders Dir. of Player Personnel Craig Smith.  Smith was also the first to lay eyes on Kory Sheets ...

- Bomber quarterback Drew Willy was back taking first team reps on Monday, just five days after having his notes scrambled by Hamilton's Adrian Tracy.  Sportsnet's Arash Madani admonished the Bombers for having Willy on the field on Monday.  I can't assume head coach Mike O'Shea would have Willy out there without medical approval.

- I've tabbed Friday's Roughriders-Lions showdown at B.C. Place as the Bad Blood Bowl as new Lions offensive coordinator George Cortez faces his former team for the first time while the Riders' Paul McCallum does the same.   We'll have Lions colour commentator Giulio Caravatta on the SportsCage on Tuesday to preview the match.  Giulio is the last Canadian quarterback to start a CFL game going back to 1996 ...

- There's a rare CFL Monday Night Football game in Week 3 as Toronto visits Calgary in a rematch of the 2012 Grey Cup.  The Stampeders will have to shake off their poor outing against Montreal and block better up the middle for Grey Cup MVP Bo-Levi Mitchell ...

- The 1-1 Hamilton Tiger-Cats have the week off and it comes at a good time with seven injured starters.  I still haven't received an adequate explanation for the Ticats going for a two point convert while up 29 points in the second half at Winnipeg Thursday night.

7 - HOCKEY NOTES:  The Edmonton Oilers held an intrasquad game on Monday.   They lost.  But they filled the arena to watch #1 pick Connor McDavid who signed his first NHL deal on Friday ... Arizona Coyotes forward Boyd Gordon of Regina was on the SportsCage on Thursday discussing his trade from Edmonton.  He admitted a pang of regret to be leaving Oil Country since they seem to be on the verge of something big but he admitted he got sick of losing ... The Kelowna Rockets lost their head coach, Dan Lambert, on Monday to the NHL's Buffalo Sabres where he'll be an assistant to Dan Bylsma.  Right now the rumour mill suggests Ryan McGill will be the next head coach of the Rockets ... Congratulations to former Regina Pats forward Pavel Padakin who signed his first pro deal, with the AHL's Lehigh Valley Phantoms, on Monday.

* For sponsorship opportunities for the MMG, email ridervoice@yahoo.ca
------

THAT'S ALL! THANKS FOR WAITING...
RP
@sportscage

39 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's kind of between the lines but I think I detect a hint of discontent with the 4th quarter coaching. If so then I commend you Rod, 2013 is a long time ago and the free ride should be over.

MC

Anonymous said...

Some of my drinking buddies came out hard against Kevin Glenn for throwing an interception, but I did remind them that even when at his peak Ron Lancaster threw an occasional interception. In fact, I tried to think of a CFL QB who was perfect and could not. But then again after eight or nine beers I had trouble remembering where I parked my truck, so I had my friend call be a taxi.

Ron "Taxi" Taggert

Anonymous said...

Fire Taman. Fire Cory.

Cory can't coach his team to the big win. Oh crap, sorry forgot about 2013.

Oh well, Taman can't find any talent, we'll go with that! Oh wait, who is this RYAN SMITH all over TSN.

NEVER MIND

Anonymous said...

Question. When did Machko Harris start wearing a fashionable Regina mens ringlet hairdo?

Anonymous said...

How's ryan Smith?? Head injury in preseason.... Head injury in week 2. Seems to be a pattern emerging very quickly.

Doovy 49 said...

I have never seen a better performance by a Rider quarterback!! KG lit it up, so did our receivers. That loss is solely on our defense. No pressure on Harris whatsoever. Give ANY qb that amount of time and he will make a play. Richie Hall's defense looks pretty appealing at this point.

Anonymous said...

That's a typical Glenn game. Big yards, moves the ball between the 20's, and his team gets fieldgoal after fieldgoal.
For all his yards thrown, Glenn only managed 26 points in regulation.

Anonymous said...

Glenn's ill advised pass WAS the difference in the game. It is also a the second red zone INT in two games. Sorry boys he you can't let him skate on this one. That was at minimum a 10 point turnaround and maybe 14. Simply put it was a bad read and bad play. Not only did it impact the score, you could feel and see the air let out of the team. It totally changed.

Yes once again the defence didn't do it's job, particularly late. It could be schemes but more likely the type and quality of players we have. The new rules dictate that If the small DB's can't hand fight, coincidentally contact, or even contact for that matter they are at a disadvantage. QB's just get the ball to the taller receivers and they victimize the DB's every time. The Riders need to adapt and get taller DB's who can tip and knock down the passes coming their way. You could see it and it was mentioned in the broadcast.

The new rules make it more important to have great pass rush to hurry throws and disrupt timing. The Riders are not without weapons themselves in Dressler and Smith. Just turn them loose downfield and hit some deep plays. Nobody can keep up with one of them but we have two.

Overall the new rules suck. They want more offence but move the point after back? That's dumb. 100,000 people pay big money to attend a soccer game in Europe. The games ends up 1-0 or 1-1 and they are all deliriously happy with games and outcome. Ive seen great football games end 17-14. It's not just the score it's the quality of the match. Some of the best hockey games I've seen ended up 4-3 or 3-2. This stupid notion to artificially create more scoring FUBAR'ing the game and killing the entertainment value. In interviews you could see the total frustration in various players especially those coming from the States.

Anonymous said...

Pretty wild how sporting figures get bumped ahead in the surgery wait line.

Anonymous said...

"the Roughriders are a combined 2-9 without Darian Durant. If nothing else, Darian's value to this team has been underscored in spades and it extends well beyond what he provides in the huddle. The Rider braintrust noticed this before anyone else and made him one of the highest-paid arms in the league in the spring of 2014." THIS SHOULD OF TOLD THE BRAINTRUST THAT the team WAS NOT GOOD WHEN IT CAN'T PLAY WITHOUT ONE PLAYER! Everyone in the media says "it is not time to panic its only 2 games"....look back is it not 2 wins & 12 loses in their last 14 games! Defence is the main cause not the quarterback. Can't fix the problem if you can't see what it is! Chamberlain has put his job on the line by taking on the defence which is taking him away from seeing the whole picture ..in his post game he hit on the offence simply because to attack the defence he would be criticiing himself...head coach just should not be in this position.

Anonymous said...

It's hard to ignore the poor officiating in this game. .....that PI call on brackenridge late in the game was icing on the cake. The refs handed this one to Toronto. Maybe Proulx doesn't have it out for the Riders but he sure is incompetent.

Dean said...

I'm pretty sure he had his surgery in South Carolina. So private Medicare.

Sure wish we had that option.

Anonymous said...

Why wouldnt sports stars get bumped ahead for surgery? they entertain and represent all of us. I'm sorry annon above but if you need surgery you wait because its easy to replace you and no one is paying to watch you work. 30,000 plus a game pay to watch pro athletes so it affects a lot more people and a lot of money. Thats why sports stars get bumped ahead for surgeries. Face it, some people are more important than you.

Glen from Cupar

Anonymous said...

Wonderful to see Flyin Ryan Smith being named a Player of the Week by the CFL!

Anonymous said...

Glenn does make some bad decisions with the ball like the double coverage throw to the endzone pick in the first game and the sideline pick in the Toronto game. That's always a dangerous throw. There's a reason why Glenn isn't a champion. It hurts to say it but it's true. If Glenn was so good, Calgary or BC would still have him.

Our defence IS the biggest problem. 36 points average per game so far. Only Winnipeg's defence is marginally worse in terms of points given up and we could only hang 26 on them. Is it schemes or do we simply not have the athletes to get it done? If we don't we're screwed.

And why Rod do you even mention the TiCats going for two in a blow out? How about the fact that it's always good practice to work on those plays. Plus too much is made at running up the score. What is this Grade Six that feelings might be hurt?



Anonymous said...

Long before the KG pick6, why is no one pointing the finger at the fried chicken oline for selfish, drive killing, points of the board TD penalties?

O-lineman Dan Clark Hands to the Face penalty - red zone drive killer
O-lineman Levy Adcock Face Mask penalty takes TD off the board. Those pts would have won the game.
O-lineman Dan Clark Hands to the Face penalty kills red zone drive
O-lineman Chris Best Clipping penalty kills late 4th quarter drive TOR gets the ball back and scores FG
The whole O-line cannot block up a run from the TOR 2 yard line and Riders settle for a 9 yard FG

Anonymous said...

"Pretty wild how sporting figures get bumped ahead in the surgery wait line."

Bumped ahead? A torn achilles tendon is deemed an emergency surgery. If he was bumped ahead he would have had surgery the next day not a week later.

Anonymous said...

Chamberlain has put his job on the line by taking on the defence which is taking him away from seeing the whole picture

All your credibility is lost when you don't even know the coaches name. How do you know football?

Anonymous said...

Rod is justified in questioning why a team would go for 2 in a blow out. While stuff like that is trivial to the average beer swilling Mitchell Blair type fan, to the people on the field it means a lot.

Anonymous said...

Nope. That has nothing to do with it. As someone who has exquisite knowledge of how this stuff works, first of all, what wait line? Saskatchewan has almost eliminated those. And second, wait lines change based on urgency. Achilles tendons have a window where they need to be done. Doesn't matter if you are DD or a backup ultimate Frisbee player, you get done

Anonymous said...

Just listened to the podcast from yesterday and couldn't agree more with Arash regarding how Winnipeg is dealing with Willy.

Did O'shea really say that "he's a pretty tough kid".

Hmmm.... So was Rick Rypien....so was Derek Boogard.

Very Winnipegish.

Anonymous said...

Ah yes, Kevin Glenn has not won a Grey Cup. Such short memories in Rider Nation!

Glenn would have hoisted the Cup in our fine city of Winnipeg, except for the fact he got hurt and an inexperienced back-up named Dinwiddie got the start.

As far as not winning one since, an analysis can be made that the better teams won the Cup in the years subsequent to 2007 i.e Montreal, Sask, Calgary, BC.

But after two games it seems all you clowns in Sask have thrown in the towel. If there was a trophy for whining and hating, youse Rider fans would win by a mile.

Y'er Welcome

Winnie the Pooh

Anonymous said...

Could Sunday's game be the last time we will see the great Andre Durie play in the CFL?

Anonymous said...

The press conference with Darian Durant was special today. Everyone in Rider Nation wishes him well and look forward to his return in 2016.

Anonymous said...

"It's hard to ignore the poor officiating in this game. .....that PI call on brackenridge late in the game was icing on the cake. The refs handed this one to Toronto. Maybe Proulx doesn't have it out for the Riders but he sure is incompetent."

BINGO!

Second of all, the pic was NOT on KG, it's on Taj Smith, whom I agree, should come back to the ball. He comes back and tails in on it, it cuts the defender off, and Taj gets either to the one, or a TD. Taj needs to show some effort on his patterns.

Anonymous said...

A snapped Achilles is priority surgery. You know, because you can barely walk with it.

I'm surprised it took so long- usually done within 24-36 hrs.

Alex

@mrt_man said...

You do... with enough money, you can get anything done!

@mrt_man said...

Speaking of Chamberlain... great ice cream at twisted sister

Anonymous said...

I agree, best ice cream in Chamberlain is at Twisted Sister.
Best ice cream in Regina is at Milky Way.

Yer Welcome,

Fatty Dugan

Anonymous said...

"with enough money, you can get anything done"

No Thanks - I would never pay money for sex.

Anonymous said...

Wow, just heard that the Als outstanding linebacker Bear Woods is out for the season. 2015 is starting out in grim fashion. Injuries suck and hurt the CFL product.

Old Hank

Anonymous said...

Luc Mullinder could not be more accurate with his assessment on CFL officiating when it comes to pass interference.

The Woz said...

Here we go again on quarterbacks. This year kg. so i will ask the obvious question.....what do you recommend? Cut a guy who just threw for almost 500? Who would you like to see this year? Cant be sunseri....

Kg is good and all we have so get behind him. Period.

Anonymous said...

Youse? YOUSE?? Seriously, Winnie the Turd?

Anonymous said...

Brett Smith is a good developmental QB and possibly should be ready when Durant and Glenn decide to retire. If not, free agency enable team to pluck their future starter from a CFL team when the time is ripe. Remember, Trevor Harris has been waiting his chance for 4 years in Toronto. Collaris, Crompton, and to a degree Willy became free agents and found a home.

Anonymous said...

Oh goody, the Woz has checked in!

Anonymous said...

PCL took one crane down today (the far Southeast one)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for playing the game Dean, but you aren't moving onto the championship round.

Don Pardo, please tell Dean what parting gifts he has won just for playing the game

Anonymous said...

When the Woz checks in, can the Obama be far behind?